Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Block vs. Edelstein on Stop and Frisk

The debate continues.

 From Dr. Michael Edelstein with responses from Dr. Walter Block in blue:

1.      The NYC police in stop-and-frisk are not stopping and frisking anyone they know to be “real criminals.” If they knew a particular person was a criminal, they would immediately handcuff and arrest the person, not stop-and-frisk. Applying your criteria, can I accurately conclude you oppose NYC-style stop-and-frisk on at least these grounds?

Yes, I “oppose” NYC-style stop-and-frisk on the grounds that they are not explicitly, directly, taking real criminals off the streets, by arresting them. That would be ideal. But, the perfect is the enemy of the good. But, at least, NYC-style stop-and-frisk is scaring criminals. Is “getting in their faces.” Is in effect warning them not to perpetrate their evil deeds. Is this 100% effective? Of course not. Many of the people stopped and frisked are not criminals, don’t otherwise intend to become real criminals, might even, God forbid, actually become real criminals based on this mistreatment of themselves. However, it is my prudential judgement that this policy (apart from attacking victimless criminals) does way more good than harm. But, does this not violate the rights of those who were stopped and frisked, and were and are entirely innocent? Well, again, let us look at this from two points of view: the minarchist and the anarcho capitalist. In the former case, these “victims” of stop and frisk gave their assent to the process, since this sort of thing is compatible with the police power, a legitimate function of government, at least in this viewpoint. From the ancap point of view, this stopping and frisking would occur on private property, by private cops, and so would be legitimate.

2. A necessary aspect of NYC police state activity violates the NAP. If a policeman invades the person or property of an innocent individual, the cop is not legally bound to pay restitution. Yet 99.9% of individuals aggressed against by cops in stop-and-frisk are innocent and not restituted. Would you not agree this qualifies as a violation of the NAP and therefore as police statism?

Answered above. I doubt your numbers. What are they based on? My off the cuff guess is that, oh, at least 50% of those stopped and frisked, are real criminals. Of course, this is only a guess. Let us leave off NYC for a moment. Let us talk about Israel, instead. And, posit, arguendo, that the state of Israel is entirely justified, and that Arab-Palestinian attacks on Jews (stabbings, shootings, bombings, etc.) entirely unjustified. What the IDF does in terms of stopping and frisking makes the NYC practice look like tiddely winks. The Arab Palestinians are continually stopped, asked to show their papers, their permits, over and over again. Do you think this violates their rights? I don’t, at least not given the assumptions we are now making. None of them, so far as I know, are stopped for victimless (drug, prostitution, pornography) crimes or charges. They are not only stopped, they are frisked, if the Israeli police have any suspicions. Do you not think this reduces the death toll of innocent Jews? Libertarianism is not a suicide pact, neither in NYC nor Tel Aviv.
Earlier debate posts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

No comments:

Post a Comment